The University of Idaho will use an unexpected $573,000 windfall to give employees a one-time bonus.
At the same time, university officials say they may ask departments to cut another one-half percent from their budgets. That’s in addition to a 1.5 percent holdback to make up for budget shortfalls.
The University of Idaho’s budget is about $700,000 in the red after student enrollment didn’t grow as anticipated this year. The school had about $400,000 in a contingency fund, making up for some of the shortfall but leaving $300,000 in unfunded obligations.
The $573,000 is available from savings resulting from larger-than-expected investment returns to state public employees retirement fund. That means state employees and employers won’t have to contribute as much to retirement accounts as originally budgeted.
Administration officials had hoped to use much of $573,000 to make up for the budget shortfall. The Staff Affairs Committee recommended using the money for bonuses, according to committee chair Debbie Beaver.
“Staff has been hit pretty hard, with no pay raises and the rising costs for health care,” Beaver said.
Gov. Phil Batt also weighed in, encouraging state agencies to use the money for bonuses, which Boise State University did.
The bonuses will come in one lump sum in Dec. 26 paychecks. Full-time and three-fourth-time employees will get $200, and half-time employees will receive $100 and teaching and research assistants will get a $100 bonus.